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Bizarro Field Trip with Eric Hendrixson: Pt II

Missed Part One? Never fear! Click HERE to catch up!

by Eric Hendrixson

The House on the Rock is an architectural anomaly, a spectacle, an autobiography in clutter, and a museum of hoarding. It holds vast, unrelated collections of of artifacts, some of them authentic. It is said to be the most popular tourist destination in Wisconsin.

As you enter, there is a small museum dedicated to the man who made this happen: Alex Jordan, Jr. A college dropout, Mr. Jordan enjoyed picnicking on Deer Shelter Rock, a towering rock formation near Spring Green, taking a hibachi and a gallon of Tom Collins with him on each trip. When challenged by the land owner, he leased the area for his picnics, eventually purchasing the rock.

After building a platform on the rock, he decided to build a Japanese-style house on it. He decided this having never been to Japan, probably never having seen a Japanese house. The first section of the self-guided tour is through the home he built without a blueprint or any architectural experience. The house is like something a Frank Loyd Wright impersonator would have designed during a drunken weekend, the floor plan resembling a cavern more than a house. While Johnson was well over six feet tall, the ceilings would be low for hobbit hole. The building resembles a stone treehouse that has grown wild. Live trees grow through the walls. It is decorated with dolls, oriental artifacts, kitchenware, stained glass, and self-playing instruments, including a banjo, tambourines, and a player piano that plays Aerosmith’s Dream On slightly out of tune.

The house climaxes with the Infinity Room, a tapering, unsupported structure that hangs over the valley like a wood and glass diving board in a creaking, vertigo-triggering homage to insane design. The house is only the first section of the tour. The second and third sections are larger buildings dedicated to this local eccentric’s collections.

The second section starts with a mill house, complete with a working waterwheel that turns only itself. The visitor then sees a number of glass cases, showcasing a collection of completely unconnected items, including a flintlock rifle with three locks but only one barrel, massive stores of colored glassware, locally-produced medieval armor and weapons, self-playing musical instruments, and animatronic displays. Because the exhibits are not labeled, identified, justified, or explained, they resemble a bunch of stuff more than a curated museum.

The tour continues through a replica old-timey Main Street—complete with ridiculously complete collections of the kinds of items each business on the street would have, coin operated nickelodeons, and animatronic fortune tellers. The dim lighting gives a twilight effect throughout the tour.

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Halloween Chaos Countdown: 6 Spooky Comics!

penelopeapples

tumblr_moc6pwHWJj1qgleipo1_500

tumblr_mmea9jNeeh1qzvzngo1_1280

comic an hero

face

Do you have any favorite creepy comics?

Flash Fiction Friday: Amnesia Bug

by Jeremy Maddux

It was about midday when all the commotion started out on Brightway Boulevard. A man in pinstripe business attire was coming back from lunch with the routine sugar buzz of his franchised coffee kicking in when he noticed something on the ground. He went to his knees to be at eye level with it. It was uncharacteristic of him to do so, but he was sure he’d seen the thing move.

He discovered that it was an insect, although not one he had ever seen. Its wings were folded back as it scanned the ground with curious antennae that branched off into yet another pair of antennae. He watched it long enough to know it had drawn something up out of the pavement, possibly nourishment. It reminded him of a junebug except for the pincers and spider legs. It was indeed the strangest insect he had ever seen, so he called someone else over to try and identify it.

He hailed an older man over who threw his weight in all directions as he walked. He was clearly a man of burdens.

“You there! Excuse me, sir, sorry to trouble you but I was wondering if I could get your opinion on something.”

“I’m not taking your damn survey. There’s nothing you have that I want. Yes, I’m one of those closed-minded old sheeple that really believes the official story of 9/11. I have no beer money for you. Now, excuse me.”

“It’s not any of those things, sir. It’s an insect.”

“Insect?”

Right here on the ground. I first noticed it about five minutes ago and I’m no closer to knowing its species.”

He’d stirred up the old man enough that he pulled out his reading glasses. He waited for the man in the pinstripe suit to back away so he could have room.

“It’s a cockroach! Why are you wasting my time with this? Don’t you have some schools to remove prayer from?”

“I’m… sorry, sir?”

“I know you’re that teacher who protested to have any mentions of God stricken from the school record. You sued the Owen County District and won. Why don’t you finish up your conversation with the roach? I’m sure he’ll be good company to you.”

“Sir, it’s not a cockroach! A cockroach has four legs. This one has six!”

“Freak of nature…” he said, walking on. He didn’t get far before he was right back there with the insect and the man in the pinstripe suit.

“Let’s suppose you’re right that it’s not a roach. It looks like a roach and certainly behaves like one. What moved you to determine it wasn’t a roach?”

First of all, its antennae have antennae. I’ve never seen or heard tale of such a thing in the insect kingdom. Second, it has six spidery legs. Can’t you see how the hind and back legs bend outward? It’s just like an arachnid.”

“Then explain the wings.”

“That’s just it. I can’t.”

“If you can’t see the plain science before you, then let me go pluck someone at random from this pedestrian lot to offer an unbiased view.”

“Welcome to it,” said the man in the pinstripe suit.

At last, the old man returned with a young black man armed with I-Tunes and headphones braced around his neck. The old man’s instigations vexed him.

“Just take a look down there and tell us what you see, young man, and be honest.”

The young man jumped backward, tripping over a fire hydrant and busting his butt on the sidewalk asphalt.

“You guys trying to give me a heart attack at 25? I have a severe case of arachnophobia. Summer Camp ’98. I got bitten by a black widow and a brown recluse on the same day. I hope it didn’t shoot its venom at me just now! I’m scared to death! If it comes down to it, I’ll sue!”

“We don’t even know if it’s poisonous,” insisted the old man. “You’re really telling me that roach looks like a spider to you?”

“Only roach is what you’ve been smoking, sir.”

“So he says roach. You say spider. I say I don’t know. Now what?” asked the man in the pinstripe suit. “I know! We’ll take the scientific approach!”

“So we isolate it by eliminating what we know it couldn’t be, right?”

“Actually, I was just going to poke it with a stick.”

Doing so caused the bug to spray a warning scent from an almond shaped fixture tucked beneath its wings, which fluttered as it emitted the pheromone of obscenity.

“Whoa, stinkbug!” shouted a woman in a heavy raincoat as she crossed the busy intersection.

“Ain’t no stinkbug I’ve ever seen” said the young man with headphones.

“Well, I can assure you that’s what it is. I recognize the smell. There was an infestation at my summer condo once.”

“I simply can’t agree with that charge, ma’am,” said the man in the pinstripe suit.

“There’s nothing else it could be,” she insisted.

It was at this time an on duty patrolman with an authoritarian gait joined the congress of onlookers.

“Alright, I’m gonna need to take statements from everyone. Who fired first?”

“Officer, there were no shots fired here,” said the old man.

“Then explain to me why they’re zipping up old Alan Cole over at the package store.”

“I didn’t hear a single shot fired, officer. We’ve been busy trying to contain this situation here,” said the music lover.

“What seems to be the problem?” asked the officer.

The man in the pinstripe suit was the first to offer an explanation, which was only fitting since he’d started all this.

“This insect, or bug, we’re not really sure which, has displayed traits relative to a junebug, spider, cockroach and even a stinkbug.”

The officer stooped low to examine it.

“I was afraid of this.”

He went back to his car and radioed for backup. When the officer returned, he mustered a short, dry ‘Ayup’ and settled both hands on his belt and holster.

“Might have to dust off the Patriot Act for this one.”

The man in the pinstripe suit couldn’t believe his ears.

“You’re not serious?”

“Son, if there’s one thing I’m serious about, it’s national security. If it’s two, it’s national security and keeping the gays out of wedding chapels. Now, if I treat this as just a stupid bug, then it turns out to be one of those military-controlled cybermoths gone rogue, or even commandeered by sleeper agents, guess whose ass will be twisting in the breeze when all is said and done?”

“Did you conjure this ‘stealth moth’ scenario as a legitimate possibility or have you actually been preparing yourself for this?”

“It’s just hypothetical, but it wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened! I should know! I listen to ham radio!” The officer displayed immense pride at this farcical factoid.

When the officer’s partner wandered into the scene, he was taken aback.

“Pat, the coroner’s here. What the hell are you doing wasting your time with that cricket?”

“It’s just a body. Tag it and bag it. This is a very sensitive situation we’ve got here.”

Once the officer’s backup arrived, things escalated considerably. The Highway Department was called in to divert traffic around the mystery pest. The sun was beginning to set. All of the spectators, the man in the pinstripe suit, the old man, the music lover, the lady in the raincoat, the squirrelly police officer, could not bring themselves to leave.

Dusk brought out stranger characters, like Roxy the Cornergirl, who was none too pleased that the blue and whites had occupied her block. She would have no customers or clientele as long as they were there. She sat down on the stoop of a brownstone apartment and fished through her purse for a cigarette.

“The hell are you people staring at? What’s with the roadblock?”

“None of us can agree on what it is.”

“Oh, let me see! I’m here every night! I’ve seen it all!”

She staggered over on loud, clicking heels and swung her arms with each labored step. She crouched over to shine a handheld flashlight from her keychain on it.

“What? You’ve never seen a praying mantis before?”

“Now I’ve heard it all!” said the old man. He borrowed a cigarette and joined her back on the steps of the brownstone.

“The matron saint of the creepy crawlies. The mother mantis kills her lover during mating.”

“Do you see some of yourself in the mantis?”

“She’s a symbol of hope for helpless women everywhere. She uses sex as a weapon.”

“Kind of like you,” postulated the police officer.

Suddenly, the bug unfolded its wings and flew off. The party had no choice but to disperse. The next morning, the bug returned to the same spot and landed. Several of the bystanders from the day previous once again gathered around it. There were now two of the insects, one carrying an egg sac on its back.

The police were once again called to the scene, and once again, they set up a barricade around the thing.

By the third day, the media began to have a field day with the city’s silent visitor. All talk of war with Syria or Iran, of the Federal Reserve’s legalized tyranny, of the president’s executive orders negating the Constitution, were mere footnotes to the spectacle of the insect.

World famous entomologist, Douglas E. Sabian, was called in to examine the creature. After extensive field study, he came to a gripping conclusion.

“It’s clear to me what this magnificent creature is. It is all of us! Not one of us can figure ourselves out or decipher the puzzles of our selves without the abstracts of psychiatry! I believe we need a new science to accurately study this creature! Insect Psychiatry!”

Plans were made to begin funding Dr. Sabian for his study of the organism. The Mayor declared it would require much sacrifice on the part of the city’s inhabitants, but with patience, our curiosity would be rewarded.

The Occupy movement caught wind of this, and descended on the city’s infrastructure, demanding that they rescind this absurd proposal to allocate excessive funds to the study of vermin.

Police erected a human barricade around the insects, decked out in full riot gear. Many died protecting them. In the ensuing months, the families of deceased officers demanded reparations for their roles in protecting the unclassified species.

Congress passed a bill protecting the newly discovered species, and made it so that any harm inflicted on their ‘persons,’ so to speak, would be considered felonious.

Presidential candidates ran expensive campaigns pledging to protect the insect at any cost.

Wide-eyed eccentrics sprung from out of dingy apartments like floorboards to say that it was an alien takeover—that the invaders had come in the guise of pests. Their claims were roundly rejected and ridiculed.

So the Bread and Circus continued for a determined ten years, before the species died out altogether. It was unable to live in this harsh atmosphere which had been so contaminated with mercury, cadmium, nickel sulfate and pesticides.

The nation grieved and mourned for the loss of their greatest distraction, which had made them forget about the wars, the famine, the economic turmoil, the political scandal emanating from every congressional orifice (or office, what’s the difference?). In a somber tribute to the lost arthropod, the people cleaned up these affairs themselves, taking back their government.

When the history books came to be written about this tumultuous period, they finally settled on a name for the creature, the ‘Amnesia Bug.’

——

Jeremy Maddux is a megalomaniac, but don’t worry. You can trust him. He has worked backstage for a professional wrestling organization, suffers from a Martyr Complex and periodically dates an ex con. He once listened to an Alice in Chains song on repeat for twelve hours in a trance while he wrote. He really misses the 90’s. In his spare time, he hosts a podcast called Surreal Sermons featuring the most up and coming authors of Bizarro and Extreme Horror.

Halloween Chaos Countdown: Head Transplants

head transplant

In 1970, a doctor by the name of Robert J. White transplanted the heads of two rhesus monkeys. The procedure was a “success” since the animals were alive and responded to stimuli. They were able to move their heads and even bite a pencil. What’s worse, they could still feel and hear.

The only problem, aside from it being like some Twilight Zone hell for all the animals involved, was that the spinal column had to be severed in order to transplant the heads and could not be reconnected. This rendered the animals completely paralyzed from the neck down. White would go on to torture many more monkeys and get a lot of flack from animal rights activists and ethical scientists.

monkeyheads

The Soviet Russian government were interested in White’s mad scientist idea and conducted some severed head experiments on dogs. They ended up sewing the head of a puppy onto another dog. They also kept the severed heads of dogs alive through tubes with pumped oxygen and blood. The footage of this is pretty fucked up.

dog head

The first dog heads to enjoy, if that word can be used, full cerebral function were those [of] transplantation whiz Vladimir Demikhov, in the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Demikhov minimized the time that the severed donor head was without oxygen by using “blood-vessel sewing machines.” He transplanted twenty puppy heads—actually, head-shoulders-lungs—and forelimbs units with an esophagus that emptied, untidily, onto the outside of the dog—onto fully grown dogs, to see what they would do and how long they would last (usually from two to six days, but in one case as long as twenty-nine days).

From Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Recently, Dr. Sergio Canavero, an Italian neurosurgeon, announced that the spinal column could now be connected and that a successful head transplant on humans could be achieved. All he needs is about $12.8 million, 100 people, and 36 hours. The heads need to be removed and connected within an hour. Canavero states,

“This is no longer science fiction. This could be done today — now. If this operation is done it will provide a few people with a substantial amount of extra life,” he said. “The only reason I have not gone further is funding.”

via The Telegraph

Thankfully many in the scientific community do not agree with Canavero, calling his claims “bad science” and comparing his idea to something from a horror movie.

uman head transplant

You there is an interesting documentary about all this called A. Head, B. Body.

For a related movie, watch:

Halloween Chaos Countdown: Spooky Bizarro News Roundup!

  • Can’t carve worth a shit? You can buy a California organic “Pumpkenstein.” The price for this molded monster masterpiece? $75!
  • In more monster pumpkin news, this 2,058 pound pumpkin set a record.

brown recluse

  • Just in time for Halloween, the “Wasco Clown” is creeping out residents in this California town. More clowns are popping up all over Bakersfield, even arming themselves with knives. But that’s not weird for Bakersfield since that place is like Florida, only smaller.
  • And yes Florida is still the weirdest city in the U.S.  This Florida man said he could speak to animals and claimed some property as his since his sister was burned there as a witch. All while wielding a chain over his head. After being shot he “began dancing and flailing his arms.”
  • A teenage girl dies during an exorcism in an Indian town.
  • Exorcisms are not only still popular, but there are more exorcisms in the U.S. than ever before. The Catholic church has 10 “official” U.S. exorcists and there are hundreds of exorcism ministries in operation today.

ebola chan

And for our final spooky story in this Halloween edition of the Bizarro New Roundup:

Until next time Bizarros!

Halloween Chaos Countdown: McKamey Manor Will Fuck With Your Psyche!

tied up

Lots of people have been sending me links to this promo video for the most extreme haunted house ever created. I’m glad that fucked up Halloween shit reminds you of me. I’m touched.

If you have not yet watched the video, watch it!

To call it a haunted house is an understatement. McKamey Manor isn’t some $5 backyard spook show with people in cheap costumes jumping out at you while you try to see through a fog machine. Russ and Carol McKamey, the creators of this unique horror experience have chosen to go all the way, much like a real-life Serbian Film, and totally destroy people’s minds.

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Bizarro Field Trip with Eric Hendrixson: Pt I

by Eric Hendrixson

As midnight approached, we were far from the highway, on the kind of country road that starts a third of the horror films made in the ’80s. That’s when the GPS signal dropped out. My wife hadn’t told me where we were going. When we decided to take a trip, I’d hopped into the car like a Labrador who doesn’t know whether he’s going to the park or the vet. We drove through Dodgeville, up a hill, and past a tractor dealership. Near the top of the hill, I saw a Boeing C-97 parked next to the road. We had reached our destination.

Don Q Inn advertises its rooms as Fantasuites. The website claims that these suites will “spice up your stay.” We walked through the heavy wood doors into the lobby, where barber and dentist chairs were arranged around a huge, circular fireplace. On the counter, there was a lending library of VHS tapes and Stephen King books. According to a sign in the lobby, the hotel does not permit children, only consenting adults over 21. That was fine. Apart from a few business trips, I have never rented a hotel room without my consent. When the clerk woke up and came to the desk, we asked her what restaurants might still be open. She yelled the question back to another clerk. “McDonald’s,” she said. “And Walmart.” She gave us keys and directions to our room.

Our room was at the end of the hall, next to an emergency exit that led directly into a cornfield, making it useless in the event of a corn-related emergency. When I opened the door, I saw a spaceman suspended above the room’s only window, which was draped with black curtains. The walls were covered in a wallpaper mural of the moon’s surface and black space, accented with comets, stars, and planets. A Formica moon rover served as a coffee table. There was a rock formation on the left side of the room, from which a moon rock waterfall fed the tile-lined tub in the crater. Above it all was a Gemini space capsule, accessible by a spiral staircase built into the rock. In the space capsule, there was a circular bed, complete with a TV/VCR, a car radio, and switches that controlled the lights and ceiling fan. It was the bedroom I would have wanted when I was five, twenty-five, or thirty-five. It’s the bedroom I will want when I’m ninety-five.

Each of these fantasy suites is its own work of art. The subjects include a ’50s theme with a pink Cadillac, an igloo, a hot air balloon, and a medieval dungeon, complete with shackles. Is it good art? Well, probably not. The rooms are like a plastic Halloween costume of Spider Man that says “Spider Man” on the front. It’s not so much a moon landing as a collection of the signifiers of a moon landing.

As for the business model of catering to sexual fantasies, I’m a believer in Rules 34 and 36. I’m sure there are people out there with a moon landing fetish, but there can’t be that many of them in Wisconsin. They must have all moved to Florida by now. The fantasy aspect is beside the point. As a bizarro, former dinner theater worker, and B movie fan, the diligent, sincere, overdone, and wrong-headed manner in which this fantasy was constructed and presented pleased me immensely.

The hotel has a tunnel between the rooms and the restaurant, decorated like a carnival spookhouse with spiderwebs, portraits that change to skulls as you walk past them, and body parts stuffed into corners. Finding the restaurant closed, we crossed the road toward a roadside bar with a motorcycle and a few pickup trucks parked outside. There, we had local beer, cheese curds (the staple of the Wisconsinite diet), a couple games of pool (free ever since someone broke the sliding coin acceptor), cookies (because someone brought cookies), and conversation with the locals, mostly about how many shots Thor, the designated driver, should get in exchange for driving the others back to town. In the morning, we drove to our real destination: The House on the Rock.


Check back soon for PART TWO  of Eric Hendrixson’s Bizarro Field Trip featuring The House on the Rock with creepy-cool photos! 

 

_________________
Eric Hendrixson was born a military brat overseas. He has lived in England, Texas, Spain, Texas, Iowa, Texas, and Virginia. Attending two kindergartens, two elementary schools, five junior high schools (one twice), two high schools, and two colleges, he learned that most realities are hypothetical and are merely intended as suggestions. His first job, in musical theater, confirmed that lesson.

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